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Dunlop Le Mans

Celebrations Aplenty Planned for 90th Anniversary At Le Mans

A very welcome press briefing this morning with Pierre Fillon and his team at the ACO had plenty of good news for fans around a series of ‘happenings’ planned to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

A fan will be selected to drop the flag to start the formation lap of the Le Mans 24 Hours – Selection method to be determined.  “We wanted the most important people at Le Mans to be honoured on the 90th anniversary.” Said Pierre Fillon.

The new Michelin Timing Tower, located at Pit Out, will be inaugurated at the Test day this year.

The Le Mans Legends, selected by an ACO nominated panel to represent the most significant cars of each decade of the race will all be at Le Mans with a large exhibition area in the Village.

Better news still though is that the regular Friday Pit Walk will also now include the track itself from the Start/ finish straight down to the Dunlop Curve and the Legends will be on display on track during that time to allow the fans to get an even closer view.

The cars will all be in running condition too and will be displayed running on track together, some with their original drivers, just before the start of the 24 Hours.

Le Mans city centre will see additional activity with a display of 1920s cars that competed in the great race at the original Pont Lieu hairpin (which still has the original café intact and in business) on the Tuesday of race week.

There will be a Son et Lumiere in operation every evening for 2 weeks before the race in the Place de la Republique, which will again be used both for scrutineering and for the start of the Friday Drivers Parade (which will, this year, start at 17:30)

To raise awareness of the race in the Sarthe region a travelling exhibition of Race posters, accompanied by the first race winner, the 1923 Chenard et Walcker will visit all of the major towns and cities in the region in the months before the race.

The 31 May will see a gala night at the Pompidou Centre in Paris to honour the best Le mans winning drivers over the races history with all seven surviving previous race winners who have won at least four times expected to be in attendance.

Messrs Ickx, Bell, Pirro, Biela, Dalmas, Pescarolo, and of course Tom Kristensen will be there – The late and very great Olivier Genbendien sadly will not.

And in a further move to honour the drivers from competing nations the appropriate WEC races this year will each see a ceremony to honour the oldest surviving Le mans competitor from the races host nation.

First to be so honoured at the BRDC tonight will be 94 year old Eric Thompson who first raced at Le Mans in 1949 going on to race a further 6 times including a spell with the Aston Martin works team. 

Finally the ACO are currently grappling with the regulatory issues involved with getting approval to welcome back a once familiar site at the race in decades past – The plan is to have an 80 metre long Airship over the circuit during the race with ‘messages for the fans. And VIP viewing!